Bright sun, heavy frost. Down in the hollow, a screech owl calls as persistently as if it were midnight. I take deep breaths of the icy air.
Brighter color between the trees: sunrise. Gray as their trunks: a doe and her grown fawns. From down hollow, a screech owl’s trill.
Well after sunrise, a screech owl trilling like the god of tree crickets. I notice that the barberry above the creek is livid with fruit.
Dawn is the original thief in the night. Sleepless from a fever, I stare disbelieving at the sky’s stain of light as a screech owl trills.
Almost light, and a screech owl still calls from down in the hollow—that sepulchral whinny. One croak of a crow stops it cold.
Ground fog forms at dawn in the bottom corner of the meadow and quickly dissipates. The screech owl’s quaver gives way to soft thrush calls.
Thick fog prolongs the early-morning light for hours. The cardinal sings spring while a screech owl quavers over the luminous snow.